Downy JasmineJasminum multiflorum
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Outdoor Growing zone
Full Sun, Partial Sun
The Downy Jasmine is an evergreen shrub with a mounding and slightly weeping form, growing up to 10 feet tall and wide, but easily trimmed to remain 3 to 5 feet tall. It is fast growing, quickly filling in to become a dense shrub. It has attractive oval leaves in pairs along the stems, and clusters of flowers form at the ends of the stems almost year-round. Each cluster produces many star-shaped pure-white flowers with a delicate musky scent, always looking charming and pure. Grow it on slopes or cascading over walls, beside a door or gate, or among shrubs. It could also be grown and flowered indoors for several years until it becomes too large.
Full sun to partial shade is fine for the Downy Jasmine, and it grows in almost all soils, even drier ones, with good drought resistance once established. It is generally free of pests or diseases and it can be trimmed and shaped at almost any time. In the house place in a sunny window, and grow in any houseplant soil with some sand added to it.
As its name suggests, the Downy Jasmine has unique soft leaves that are ‘touch-friendly’ and an attractive gray-green coloring. This soft mounding shrub is a great easy-care addition to your garden, filling corners or planters, and producing a regular flow of flower clusters, each one full of elegant, pure-white stars with a soft fragrance. In India, its natural home, it is called ‘Kunda’, and where we say, ‘White as snow’, Indians say, ‘White as Kunda’. The buds and flowers really are a wonderfully pure white and their simple, graceful, star-shape is enchanting. In some parts of India garlands of the blossoms are essential at a wedding. This easy-care shrub is sprawling, and easily grown on a house wall or a fence or cascading from the top of a retaining wall. There are many types of jasmine, some shrubs and some climbers, but the downy jasmine is one of the easiest to grow, and a trouble-free garden shrub you will adore.
The Downy Jasmine is a fast-growing evergreen sprawling shrub growing 5 to 10 feet tall and wide, but easily kept below 5 feet tall with regular trimming. The stems arch over, and it has a gentle, slightly weeping look. The oval leaves are in pairs along the stems, suggesting a fish-bone, and they are about 2 inches long, oval and green. The young stems and leaves are covered in a very fine coating of short hairs, giving them a soft touch and turning the green leaves a gentle gray-green tone.
Flowers appear in clusters at the ends of young shoots, more or less throughout the year, especially during the warmer months. Each flower is a narrow tube, ending in a flattened star of 6 to 9 petals, about one inch across. The flowers are a pure, pure and almost startling white, without any cream, yellow or pink tones. Each flower lasts several days, opening in succession from the clusters, so that there are usually several open flowers and white buds showing in a cluster at any one time. The flowers give off a soft, slightly musky perfume, not as pronounced as in some other jasmines.
Fast-growing, the Downy Jasmine is great for quickly filling spaces in a new garden, and for planting singly or in groups to fill larger areas with interest. It looks great on slopes or cascading over walls, or in a pair flanking a doorway or gate. Plant a row as an informal screen or hedge – it will quickly fill in and give you good coverage. It can also be tied up on a fence to give attractive covering, or trained up trellis panels.
The Downy Jasmine will tolerate just a little occasional frost, and it is reliably hardy in zones 9, 10 and 11. It could also be grown as a potted plant in a sunny window indoors, although in time it would probably become too large.
Full sun or partial shade suit the Downy Jasmine perfectly. It grows well in almost all soils, from acid to alkaline, and favors well-drained soil. It shows moderate to good drought tolerance, once established.
This is an easy-care plant if you want an informal look, or it can be trimmed regularly to keep it as neat as you want it to be. A stronger trimming will encourage a good cascading look, and lots of flowers, if you only trim once a year. It is easy to grow and has no particular pest or disease problems.
The Downy Jasmine, Jasminum multiflorum, is also sometimes called star jasmine, but that name is applied to many different jasmines and jasmine-like plants, so we prefer this common name, which matches the unique softness of the leaves. Downy Jasmine is native to India, Nepal, and down into south-east Asia in Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam. It has also escaped at some time in the past and become ‘native’ in the Caribbean, Florida, much of Central America and even in Queensland, Australia.
Jasmines are a fascinating and beautiful group of plants for warmer zones, and you could fill much of your garden with them. Start doing that by planting the easy and beautiful Downy Jasmine, but order now – stock is limited and the demand for easy shrubs is always high.